Vegas is America

The first thing you realize when flying into Las Vegas is that you’re trapped.  The sense of isolation is so incredibly strong it’s undeniable, this is the middle of the desert.  In the middle of nowhere stands a row of steel and florescent lights, so out of place you wonder why here, why not 20 miles that way (point in any direction).  The mountainous backdrop provides a surreal experience.  After a few drinks it feels as if you are fleeing Egypt, wandering through the desert with Moses in search of the promised land (Spearmint Rhino?).

The vast tracts of cookie cutter homes spread throughout the desert wasteland like a plague.  How many of those homes are occupied I wonder, how many are in default?  These communities are not sustainable, as we’ve seen.  The real estate crash has exposed a simple fact, there is no real economy here to support this many people.  This is the middle of the desert, there’s nothing here, nothing, this whole economic ecosystem relies on outside money to survive.  Problem is, there’s no more money, the real estate speculators have cashed in, or busted out, leaving an ugly path of destruction in their wake.  The same thing can be said for parts of Arizona, inland California, Florida, and the mid west.  The idea that you can just put down 500 homes in the middle of nowhere, completely reliant on the motor vehicle and without any real economy is just a joke.  The economy was the building of the homes, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people actually built their own homes while working for Pulte, Beazer, or Toll Brothers.  Those jobs are gone, what’s left?

The casinos are empty, and I don’t mean just a little sparse, I mean completely empty.  I could drive a mack truck through the doors here at the Mandalay Bay and no one would notice.  I’m not surprised, people just don’t have money to waste anymore, and well, that’s what this place is built on.  The casinos are hurting, they may have staved off death for a while by convincing the banks to pony up more money to refinance their debt, because hey, if they went under the banks had just as much to lose.  They may have bought themselves time, but their destiny is inevitable.

I’ll hold my tongue, kind of, regarding how I feel about the general population who patron the casinos.  Let’s just say, America needs a diet and a makeover.  If this is a cross section of America, I’m damn glad to live in my little liberal educated corner in NYC.  Sometimes I feel as if I have more in common with people who live in Paris, Stockholm, or Madrid than Nebraska.  I’m trying my hardest not to sound snobbish, but it’s so hard coming to terms with what the majority of this country represents.

On its current path, this country is so fucked.  Remember two things though, the market is not the economy, and we have the ability to turn this country around so fast it’ll make your head spin.  You have to continue trading the market you see in front of you, not the one you believe should exist.  All it’ll take to turn this country around is the invention of a new disruptive technology and some decent legislation.  We are still the most innovative collection of people and corporations this earth has ever seen and I have no doubt there are amazing things to come.  The internet is in inning 2, it’s about 20 years old as it pertains to the public.  I have so much hope for what comes next it makes me euphoric at times.

Be realistic, never lie to yourself or those around you about the realities of the situation.  But always remember, in an environment where you can do, think, or create almost anything, the possibilities are endless.

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